- Year 2017
- NSF Noyce Award # 1340069
- First Name Dennis
- Last Name Sunal
- Discipline Other: Chemistry, Physics & Math
Cynthia Sunal, University of Alabama, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeremy Zelkowski, University of Alabama, email@example.com
Jim Gleason, University of Alabama, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Shaughnessy, University of Alabama, email@example.com
J. W. Harrell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Vincent, email@example.com
Krystal Flantroy, University of Alabama, firstname.lastname@example.org
Research has addressed the severe shortages of math and science teachers (Ingersoll, 2003, Seastrom, 2004) and the negative impact it is having on U.S. students as evidenced by their lack-luster math and science scores on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam (OECD, 2012), but little is known about how to get early STEM majors to become STEM teachers. A shortage of math and science teachers reported by Ingersoll (2003) continues to plague the United States (Goldhaber, 2016) and the predicted record enrollments within the next decade (Statistics, 2010), the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) predicts that this shortage will continue. To address the problems associated with shortages in science, technology, engineering and math teachers (STEM) we investigate the effectiveness of a summer internship program which includes teaching experiences along with STEM activities and research, as a method of recruiting early STEM majors to teach.
The goals of the project are to first recruit math, chemistry, and physics majors to become certified teachers and continue their major in the STEM field. Secondly, it is to retain these teachers in high needs schools once they become certified and begin teaching. We recruit students for a 3-week paid summer internship that provides them with content specific activities as well as teaching opportunities in formal science education (summer enrichment programs through schools) and informal science education (museum camps). Recruiting methods include faculty recruiting, presentations, posters, and job fairs.
Methods to recruit early STEM majors into teaching include: career counseling (Thorne, 2010), STEM teaching scholarships such as the Robert Noyce Scholarship (National Science Foundation, 2014), and involving faculty members and internships in the STEM and teaching fields at a university. Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory, Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) (Lent, et al., 2002) consists of three interconnected models that explain interest development, choice-making, performance and persistence and considers factors such as gender, culture and diversity in making career choices (p. 557).
We designed the internship to support self-efficacy by providing research experiences within the students? chosen STEM field, as well as improving teaching self-efficacy by providing teaching opportunities under the supervision of experienced teachers. Interest development and choice-making were enhanced by providing students a wide variety of STEM research activities.
1) Satisfaction with the internship was greater than 90%.
2) The internship had a positive impact on influencing STEM majors to consider and enter teaching in target fields.
3) Chemistry and physics majors in education certification increased from 0-1 to 5-7 per year.
4) A significant increase was found in math certification students? ability to teach higher level (AP) math courses in high school.
5) Most interns were recruited by faculty members and poster advertisement.
6) Currently there are 7 physics, 3 chemistry, and 9 math scholarship recipients.
7) Many of the interns would not have participated in the summer internship due to financial reasons had they not been provided the stipend payment.
The broader impact of the project is that these teachers can begin to bridge the gap in science literacy in the high needs schools and serve as mentors to novice teachers.High needs schools have been impacted because we are beginning to graduate highly qualified chemistry, physics, and math majors to fill their needs. This in turn impacts the students by having teachers who are certified in field to teach them.
Implications for further study:
** Long term implications of factors affecting recruitment and certification of STEM teachers
** Support of pre-service teacher education
** Induction program to support new in-service teachers